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Johnson County is offering a new way for local residents to engage in the upcoming FY 2013 Budget preparation process.
For the first time, Johnson County is launching an online Budget Simulator allowing citizens to submit their county service priorities and how they are willing to financially support their rankings in balancing the county budget.
Accessibility to the Budget Simulator, which is being coordinated by the County Manager’s Office and Department of Budget and Financial Planning, began Thursday, February 16, and will be available through Friday, April 6. It is accessible through the county’s main website at www.jocogov.org.
“We want more citizen engagement in the budget process,” County Manager Hannes Zacharias said Thursday in announcing the online survey. “This technology provides citizens a convenient opportunity to express their views, thereby helping the county develop spending priorities that match the values of the community, all at the click of a mouse.”
The goals are to seek increased community feedback in the budget process, foster an ongoing dialogue with the community regarding public services, and develop an informative, reliable process for the Board of County Commissioners to use for county service prioritization and budgetary decision-making that hits warp speed from June to August.
Participants using the online web tool will be able to communicate their priorities about county spending by various strategic service areas, such as public transit, public safety, human services, parks and recreation, library, etc.
The Budget Simulator will allow online users to rank service areas by a wide range of levels, such as wanting more services or opting for less. A sliding bar will reflect the tax impact of adding or reducing the service areas. It’s a give-and-take challenge:
- Citizens can increase, keep the same, or decrease various service levels to balance a budget.
- Citizens will have the option to increase budget revenues, such as raising parks fees or property taxes.
- Citizens also can choose to decrease budget revenues, such as reducing taxes, which in turn, means cutting county services.
The community feedback collected through the Budget Simulator will be compiled by the Budget Department. A report highlighting the findings will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners in late April or May and will be posted on the budget website. It, too, is accessible on the county’s main website.
The budget website offers information that includes the FY 2012 Budget Book, definitions of common budget terms, archives to past county budgets, and upcoming meetings of the Board of County Commissioners and two public hearings regarding the FY 2013 Budget process.
The proposed FY 2013 Budget will be presented to the Board on May 31 by the County Manager and Department of Budget and Financial Planning.
The Board will then review the proposed budget, receive final funding requests from county departments and agencies in June and early July, and make changes, as needed, in finalizing its own version of the budget and the mill levy required to support it.
By state law, the Board must adopt the budget by August 25 of each year.
More information is available by contacting Scott Neufeld, Director of the Johnson County Department of Budget and Financial Planning, at (913) 715-0553 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 1:44pm